Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Review: Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

Publisher: Avon
Pub. Date: September 26th, 2006
Pages: 293

Genre: Fiction / Science Fiction / Horror


A carnival rolls in sometime after the midnight hour on a chill Midwestern October eve, ushering in Halloween a week before its time. A calliope's shrill siren song beckons to all with a seductive promise of dreams and youth regained. In this season of dying, Cooger & Dark's Pandemonium Shadow Show has come to Green Town, Illinois, to destroy every life touched by its strange and sinister mystery. And two inquisitive boys standing precariously on the brink of adulthood will soon discover the secret of the satanic raree-show's smoke, mazes, and mirrors, as they learn all too well the heavy cost of wishes - and the stuff of nightmare.


What Did I Think About the Story?

I decided to pick up and finally read Something Wicked This Way Comes for a number of reasons, including the fact that I was feeling like reading a "scary story" when I read it last month, I vaguely remember really enjoying the movie version when I was a kid, and author Riley Sager was going to be conducting a Twitter chat around the book on October 25th (#ReadWithRiley) and I really wanted to participate. It's one of those classics that I felt bad about never reading, even more so because it sounds so deliciously scary. I'm incredibly sad to say that I didn't love it as much as I'd expected.

My biggest issue with the story was the way the author told it. The writing style is so florid and poetic that I found myself having to constantly stop reading and reread passages to make sure I fully understood what was happening to the characters. While this might be perfect and quite beautiful writing for a different sort of genre, when it comes to a story that is meant to be terrifying, being removed from the tension, panic, and horror ruins that feeling of terror for me. I want to feel scared, not be confused about whether or not I am understanding what is happening in the story and whether or not those characters are feeling scared. That terror has to be visceral, not just cerebral.

I do have to say that there were a few instances where I was able to get into the flow of the story and enjoy the quite unsettling things happening to this town and its inhabitants. There is one scene in particular, where the two boys witness a man riding backwards on the carousel and the horrible results when that carousel finally stops turning, that had my heart pumping deliciously. The scenes taking place within the house of mirrors were pretty scary as well. I just wish there were more of these sorts of scenes and less waxing descriptions.

I also enjoyed the way the story highlighted the frenetic nature of boys and their imaginations and need for adventure that seems to seep away as they age, as well as how that aging can slowly begin to pull even the closest boys apart as their interests and motivations begin to separate. I thought the story an interesting way to show the dangers of not being satisfied in whatever chapter of life you happen to be in - either wishing to be young and back in the "good ol' days" or fighting to grow up before your time - and how that dissatisfaction can leave you open to all sorts of nefarious choices.

All in all I am happy that I read Something Wicked This Way Comes for the Twitter chat as it is a classic and did have parts that I ended up enjoying. It was not, however, the quick, terrifying read I anticipated and I will admit that this left me somewhat disappointed overall. I would recommend those that are interested in the story based on the synopsis or other reviews give it a might end up loving it as so many other readers have.

What Did I Think About the Cover?

No, just no. While I know what the carousel represents, why one of the boys is riding one of the horses off into the sky I cannot figure out. The book also has an 80s feel (not in a good way) even though this edition was printed in 2006, and it doesn't do anything to make me want to read the story. With so many sinister happenings going on within the story there are almost endless possibilities for a better cover than this.  

My Rating: 3.0/5.0

I purchased a copy of Something Wicked This Way Comes for my own library. All opinions are mine alone. For more information about the book, including other reviews and links to where you can purchase a copy, see Goodreads HERE.

No comments:

Post a Comment